If you want to be a bad product manager, let the politics of working in an organization get you down. Get frustrated easily at any roadblock and complain like mad. Talk about how things would be so much easier at a smaller/bigger company, how they way things work within your organization are backwards, and especially how that’s causing problems for your product. Use “bureaucracy” as the excuse for not accomplishing objectives. Let organizational politics suck out of you any remaining passion for your product and your work.
If you want to be a good product manager, be tenacious about leading your product through the organizational minefields. Rather than getting frustrated and making excuses, use your clear vision and strategy to push forward. In this interview with Business 2.0, Stewart Butterfield of Flickr comments that one of the keys to Flickr’s success now that they are within the bureaucracy of Yahoo! is to “have a wellspring of spiritual energy to call on to surmount any obstacle.” You need to truly have passion for your product and believe in what you’re doing. That energy and passion is contagious and can be your most effective weapon against forces working against you.
Update: Just a few hours after I posted this (coincidence or what?), Martin Cagan of the Silicon Valley Product Group had a great post on Thriving in Large Companies that covers this same topic but more extensively and in much more detail. Highly recommended.